James McAvoy is set to play a younger version of Patrick Stewart's Professor Xavier in the Marvel mutant prequel X-Men: First Class. McAvoy didn't look at it as a chance to reboot the character so much as channel various aspects of Patrick Stewart's performance while bringing a fresh perspective to it.
James McAvoy recently talked about some of the challenges behind bringing a new Professor X to life.
"This isn't a reboot, so I'm not replacing anyone, in which case you might want to try to be as different as possible and stay away from what has been done before. This is a prequel, so I'm the same character, just younger, but the challenge for me - and for Michael Fassbender - is to show the same person in a different place in their life, to show someone before they're this bad guy, before they're this saint. Charles wasn't always a ... monk, this selfless, sexless monk that he becomes. Charles is caught up in himself. He enjoys success and is proud, and he's not the selfless person that he becomes. You look at the relationship with Raven - who becomes Mystique - and you examine that relationship and the way he treats her like a living experiment. She's an assistant to him and he cares for her, but there's his ego and condescending big-brother attitude as well. You see it in the way he treats the others. In the "later" movies, he's exorcised that from his personality. For me, trying to keep that ego as an underpinning of the character is important."
The relationship between Magneto and Professor X in X-Men: First Class has been likened to that of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. James McAvoy has a slightly different take on it.
"It's kind of a love story, like "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," which, really, was a love story between two men. This is the first time in their lives they've met someone who is an equal of sorts, someone who understands them and can connect and push them too. Especially Charles, he's fascinated with Erik and his potential. For Erik, Charles is the first person he's trusted to really tell about his past and the first person to understand the horrible things he's been through."
To read more from James McAvoy about his role in X-Men: First Class, CLICK HERE